The Oxford Summer School (OSS) has developed over 19,000 retailers from across the sector since its inception in 1923. It is our mission to deliver an inspirational experience that challenges and develops retail professionals to give them the confidence and motivation to realise their potential. So it provides us with enormous pride when delegates describe our programmes as ‘amazing’, ‘inspirational’, ‘exceptional’ and ‘life changing’. One such example is Alex Howard, Assistant Manager at Asprey.
Alex (pictured left) attended the Foundation in 2017 and fondly looks back at his time on the programme: “I don’t mean this to sound ‘cheesy’ but the Foundation course really was life changing. Despite having worked in retail for a while it really helped me understand what it is to be a leader”.
“There’s even been elements of the programme that helped me in my personal life. For example, understanding how to lead through times of change. Especially useful for balancing a busy work life with a young child at home.”
“It was also incredible to see how people changed in just a few days. When our working group first came together it took a little while for everyone to relax into it. Later in the week we had a second opportunity to mix the groups up. Following the lessons we’d learnt the new group bonded together so much quicker.”
“I also enjoyed the work we did on managing conflict. When you lead any kind of team you have to manage multiple personalities. Being able to understand how to communicate with different personal traits helps me to engage my team much more effectively.”
“I would love to stay involved in the OSS and return to the Foundation programme as a Group Leader.”
During the visit to the store on New Bond Street, we also spoke to Craig Cairns, Asprey Store Director. He praised the difference in Alex since he returned from the Foundation: “I’ve noticed that since he’s come back from the Foundation he’s been really effective in prioritising his and the teams’ workload. He’s developed a better understanding of what’s right for the team and what’s right for the business. He’s now much more structured in his approach to work.”
The aim of the Foundation programme is to build confidence in the retail manager. It provides delegates with the opportunity to reflect on their own approach to leadership and management, gain a wider understanding of their role and the impact that successful leaders can create. The Foundation enables managers to develop and enhance the vital skills leaders need to ensure their team delivers to the organisation’s standards, targets and expectations.
Craig recommended the Foundation to Alex after attending the Academy programme in 2015. Craig is a firm believer that the lessons taught on OSS programmes can benefit all retail professionals. When asked if he would recommend the OSS to colleagues in the industry he commented “absolutely and have to many since I attended”.
Asprey, founded in 1781, is one of the finest British jewellers and luxury goods house. It is a name synonymous with refinement and luxury. www.asprey.com